Paragon Banking Group today unveiled its full year results, showing underlying profits of £145 million and new asset finance lending up by 53%.
Paragon’s total new lending grew by 29% to £1.9 billion and included a 53% increase in its asset finance lending to £220 million. Asset finance balances grew by 30% to £325 million and profits for Paragon’s commercial lending operations, which include asset finance, also increased to £14 million from £9 million in 2016.
The development of the SME-focused asset finance business is a key part of Paragon’s long-term evolution from a monoline mortgage lender to a diversified banking group, delivering additional competition and choice for business customers in this important sector of the economy.
Building on the success of the Five Arrows business acquired from Rothschild & Co in November 2015, Paragon has focused on strengthening relationships with the broker community and improving systems to extend its reach to a broader customer base.
The business has also extended its specialist asset finance expertise with new hires in sectors including Commercial Vehicles and Aviation and enhanced its proposition to target businesses in the Agriculture, Medical and Professional sectors, alongside its established expertise in Construction, Pro-AV, Broadcast and Print.
Gary Leitch, Managing Director of asset finance at Paragon said:
“This year’s results demonstrate our appetite to grow the business through a focused strategy designed to strengthen our relationships with the broker community, extend our specialist sector expertise into new areas of the market and enhance our service capability with targeted investment in key systems. Customers are already well advanced in their planning for 2018 and we see good opportunities to offer our specialist finance support to help them achieve their objectives and steer a path through the economic uncertainty ahead.”